Mahou Shojo and the Legacy of Gurren Lagann

Hey again! Yesterday, in a flurry of conversation with Jamal and Kirk, we slammed together the good, the bad, and the perverse in KILL la KILL, the new show from the Gurren Lagann guys. It’s well animated, got a breakneck pace, killer action, an easy to understand, well defined, simple to grasp plot with a lot of detailed inner workings… and boobs. 

Yup. In the middle of all that win is a sickening amount of fanservice, so much that it’s borderline hentai and totally disgusting. The near-nudity is distasteful and reprehensible, and it doesn’t bring anything to the show, it didn’t need it, so then… why?

Well, as Kirk ensures me he will elaborate on soon, KILL la KILL is a love-letter and condemnation to the Magical Girl genre. 

The overuse and abuse of the classical Mahou Shojo tropes in KILL la KILL is undeniable, and to interesting effect! Don’t take our word for it, watch an episode or two on and just keep that thought in your mind. Look for Sailor Moon tropes and stuff they did in Cardcaptors, and when you do, reflect on it.

But I can hear it already. Many e-voices, scoffing, shouting ‘you’re reading WAY too deep into this filth!’

But you’re wrong. These guys have done this before, to another beloved genre.


Who the hell do you think we are?! Hit the jump to find out. 

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KILL la KILL Ep. 1

ImageBAM. Holy shit it’s KILL la KILL. The new gem from the creative minds behind the massively successful Gurren Lagann. And before you get your shorts bunched up, before you sing any praises, before you go damning the creators and their families to the hell-iest of hellscapes, lemme just say ‘woah.’ Hit ‘continue reading’ and we’ll begin.

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Diabolik Lovers: Episode 1 Review

This is my first full write-up for Fall 2013. It’s also one of the first things we watched from this season, and even now, it sits fresh on my mind. You’re about to find out why.

This shit is undefendable, terribly written, and not even worthy of being called garbage. The WORST show of the whole season. In episode 1, our dull-witted protagonist shows up at a mystery mansion her parents just told her she’d be living at. Well fuck it, sure, it worked in Love Hina, why not here too? Oh that’s right, cause that was the mid nineties and we’re supposed to be fucking beyond that shit now. But I digress.


Seems legit to me. Hit the jump to go on a magical journey. Continue reading

FALL 2013 Master List

Hey again! Yesterday’s Summer 13 list was huge, but it got us up to speed. Today, I’m throwing out knowledge about the first episodes from our CURRENT season. This will be the last en masse post for quite a while, I’d wager. That being said, here’s a list I found that details our current season.


Click that fat bitch if you wanna make that monster grow.

Once you’ve got the required reading up in a new tab, class, click the ‘Continue Reading’ button and we’ll kick this pig.
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2013 Summer Recap Special

Before I jump into this season and the 30 or so shows we’ve tried on, I thought it might be nice to do a short backlog. If anyone wants to hear more about these shows, ask. I’ll make that happen.

But back in the summer of ’13, the anime season looked like this:


Click it if you want to read the descriptors. We kept some, we ditched others, I’m going to fly through them with brief one-liners describing our expectations, then what we got, and then a line on pros and cons for the show as a whole. I’ll do more later on a per episode basis for the current season, but this will serve as a blanket for our previous season.

Click the ‘Continue Reading’ button and let’s begin.
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About the JTAK Crew

Hey! This is us, just as a frame of reference. I’ll do one each year (assuming this carries on another year) both for reflection and to frame our decisions and opinions in a logical way. And now, JTAK:


Jamal – Late 20’s Male – Jamal is a man of the world. He’ll try anything once, even if he has no real interest, and enjoys things without reservation. He’s often drawn to epic tales steeped in solid lore, strong action scenes, unique and relatable characters, and anything that makes him think hard.

His razor-sharp tastes means he only enjoys the best media, cutting shows the moment they spoil, ensuring a high quality from anything he watches or recommends. He has a hard time dealing with squeamish sexual situations and characters he can’t empathize with or understand.


Tanner – Mid 20’s Male – A writer and overly-energetic know-it-all, Tanner is all about good writing and new, interesting places and peoples. Show him a world unlike any other (or rehash an old one in a new and interesting way) and he’s a kid at Christmas. He loves seeing humanity come forth in dialogue and decision-making, likes it when writers remember the rules and limits to their established setting, and hates tropes with a burning, vengeful passion.

Unfortunately, Tanner is a wide-eyed dreamer and optimist, often seeing potential that isn’t there, and thusly is often disappointed if the ending or plot twist he wrote in his head is better than the one he’s given on screen. Because of these factors, he will be wildly passionate about a series one episode, then three later hate it with every ounce of fury in the cosmos, and often STILL watch to the end just to say he gave it the chance to redeem itself.


Alli – Mid 20’s Female – Allison is a historical mastermind and meticulous planner, easily understanding complex ideas, situations, and characters very naturally. Because of this, anything that doesn’t tantalize her brain means she very quickly loses interest, but for those few shows that she sinks her teeth into, she bites down ravenously, consuming every morsel. She’s drawn to the occult, other masterminds, and cute things. If they have two of those elements, she’s usually instantly sold. Tragic romance is another love of hers.

Her catlike charms means that if she’s done with a show, you won’t change her mind, and it’s sometimes very hard to catch her interest. But when you DO intrigue her, you’ll never have a more passionate and in-depth fan to discuss the nitty-gritty of your favorite shows and stories. However, if your media bores her, expect her to write it off and pack it in. She’s a cat, after all, and she is fickle.


Kirk – Mid 20’s Male – Easygoing and production-minded, Kirk is drawn to action, romance, and basically anything that makes him feel alive. What usually ends up catching his eye, however, is solid editing, beautiful shots, and truly stunning music, as well as attention to detail. If all of that is truly solid, Kirk probably enjoys it, even if putting it into words is hard. He doesn’t like everything, though, far from it. The easiest way to earn his ire is sexism, a theme that (unfortunately) runs rampant in many anime.

The easiest-going of the group, Kirk is easy to please, so long as there are no grievous sins committed by a series, but sometimes, things simply fail to resonate with him. Usually, he’ll stick to Shonen manga and slice of life, but every year or so a show that by all accounts should be something he loves instead becomes something he despises. Watch out for that curveball!

Hope that helps you get where we’re coming from! Thanks for reading!

Welcome to our Anime Night

This is the very first post on the official JTAK Anime Night Official Blog.

On behalf of Jamal, Tanner (That’s me!), Alli, and Kirk, I welcome you! Grab a drink and join the club!

We watch a LOT of anime. I mean a LOT. For several years now, Friday night hasn’t simply been the start of the weekend, it’s when we’d all pile onto our couches around the big TV and watch as much anime as we could stand. We usually keep up with 15-20 shows each season, keeping only the very best.

With this blog, I hope to document our viewings, because damn it we’ve got good taste, and I’m willing to bet someone out there would benefit from knowing what’s good and what sucks each season. And if I’m wrong, hell, I may learn something from those that shoot me down.

Either way, this experience is about growth, and I’m damn glad you’re here. Welcome to JTAK.